Let’s Have Some Fun, Card Fans!

Yesterday I was daydreaming, wondering about how far fans will go when they are in love with a team or a school?

So, I thought it would be cool to see if any of the Red & Black Faithful who are the vast majority of my readers have stories have any stories?

Which I hope all will share in the Comment Section below.

I’ve got some. Mine involve Cardinal hoops, but the sport does not matter, it’s what was done in the name of loyalty.

Three here underscore how strong my love is.

To start. It would be disingenuous not to admit my entire professional career path was altered by a U of L basketball game.

Truth is I never in my callow youth contemplated adulthood. Marriage. Family. Career. Never gave ’em much thought.

So, my senior year at U of L arrives in ’66-’67. Vietnam is the black cloud over all of us military age. I hadn’t a clue what I was going to do after graduation. I had a humanities prof whom I really liked. So, what the hell, I signed up to take the Graduate Records, and apply for a Masters or beyond in Humanities.

Like I said, not much aforethought.

But the week of the Saturday I’m going to take them, a pal walks into the Cardinal Inn with this.

Great news, he advises, he’d scored some tickets to the Cards hoops encounter that Saturday afternoon at Cincy. In their old gym.

“I can’t go,” I immediately advise, “I got the Grad Records on Saturday.”

To which, my guys reacted as one would expect from a bunch of yahoos whose daily diet was Johnny George’s Cardinal Burger and a Milk Shake. Yes, PFunk, Fries came with that shake.

Their bullying reaction was something along the line of “You’re always telling everybody you’re U of L’s biggest fan. It’s the biggest game of the year against our arch rival. Getting seats up there has always been impossible. You’re saying the Grad Records are more important than that?”

They were . . . relentless.

Of course, I went to the game, which the Cards lost by a point.

At someone’s suggestion, when I was pondering, you know, the rest of my life, I took the Law Boards a few weeks later. Applied only to U of L Law School.  Got in. And so it went.

Honest to Aunt Martha, that is all the thought I gave to my career path.

U of L hoops was more important.

 * * * * *

Tale #2 is a bit harder to categorize. But just as true. Please forgive the salty details, but the tale must be rendered in full.

The ’78-’79 b-ball campaign began with the Cards playing after midnight our time in the Seawolf Classic in Alaska. The game would be on the radio but not TV.

Those were the daze when I ran the bars. Just about every night. On the evening of one of those late tilts, I happened to make the acquaintance of a young lady somewhere. Probably Butchertown Pub or Phoenix Hill Tavern. She actually agreed to come back to my place to sample some of the herbal refreshments of the time, and whatever ensued from there.

Whatever actually did ensue. Every once in awhile, out of the blue, even a dude like me scored.

Game time was approaching as we were lolling about, savoring the hook up. (Apologies if this is all too much info, but the tale is telling.)

My mind: I’m thinking how I’m going to listen to the game? If the situation remains, we’ll surely fall asleep. I figure the only way I’ll be able to hear the game is if I drive this lady to her home in Shelby County, listening to the broadcast on the radio.

As much fun as we’d had, as attractive as this woman was, it was essentially a Hobson’s Choice.

“I’ve got to drive you home.”

“What?” She was more than a bit confused.

“Yeah,” I lied, “I got something I need to do early in the morning, so I need to take you home now.”

Which I did. Listening to my beloved Cardinals both going out and coming back.

 * * * * *

The third tale is a cautionary one.

A lesson learned, a course correction.

There was a Cardinal home game. Something I never missed.

There was also a Neil Young/ Linda Ronstadt concert at Louisville Gardens. It may have been the Rust Never Sleeps Tour. Not sure.

I went to the concert. Which was a really good one.

Yet I recall thinking as my date and I floated out of the gig, “You feel too good.” My body was a smidge wobbly, my muscular coordination gelantinous.

Thus at 2d & Liberty I rear-ended a car that had already been in another accident. Police were already on the scene. A mighty “oops!” that one.

The lesson honored, after realizing nobody was hurt, nobody got busted, was this . . .

. . . Never Miss A Home U of L Game For A Concert. Or anything, really. Other than illness, or the proverbial death in the family.

A vow I’ve stuck with.

 * * * * *

Looing forward to hearing below what fellow Cardinal fans have done in the name of fealty.

— c d kaplan

9 thoughts on “Let’s Have Some Fun, Card Fans!

  1. – Going to Indy Final 4 in 1980, 2 couples, no tickets. Paid $75 each for tickets Saturday only. Wife of the other couple, not happy about cost, miserly as she was, at halftime proclaims, …”Well, I just spent $37.50!!” They went home. Wife and I found final tickets for $40, had an awesome and memorable weekend.
    – Returned to RCA Dome in Indy in March 1989 with my 11 year old son, no tickets for Regional game vs Arkansas. I assured him we’d get in easily. Very cold snowy day. We played second game of the day. No tickets anywhere! No scalpers on the street. First game had started. Told my son we’d walk around the entire dome outside and try one last time to find tickets. He’s crying. We’re following a bunch of young girls who are checking all of the outside doors to make sure they’re locked. After watching them rattle a dozen or more doors, suddenly heard one of them say, “Hey, this is open!” We followed the girls and were in the building! I stood at the exits after the first game and asked for ticket stubs from those leaving first game. I sifted through maybe 25 stubs, found the best of the bunch, and sat at mid court lower level watching us defeat Arkansas. My son was happy!

    1. The first game of that Indy Regional was against an Arkansas directional school. It was the day the Professor and I ate at Shapiro’s three times. Lots of big Card memories in Indy. Thanks.

  2. My friend Paul acquired a pair of season tickets through an employee club raffle at his company. 1981-1982 season, I think. When the CAF was formed, and ticket holders were told they had to donate for the privilege of renewing their season tickets, his company dropped that one employee benefit. Paul asked, and I agreed to share the tickets with him, including the donation. He would take one of his three kids to one game apiece, I would take my two kids to one apiece, but for the most part, Paul and I went together.

    In the early nineties, Paul’s company transferred him to south Georgia, and he no longer wanted to continue our arrangement. I decided to keep the tickets and to pay all the related costs. The CAF and the Athletic Department were pretty persnickety about transferring ownership of the CAF account. They wanted what I considered way too much money to put everything in my name. So, I just left Paul’s name on the account, and changed the mailing address to my home address.

    I continued making the donations and buying the tickets, still using Paul’s name for everything. Then the company I worked for moved its corporate headquarters to Nashville, Tennessee. I gave it about five seconds of thought and decided I would continue buying the season tickets. I figured that Nashville was only a three hour drive away. My company allowed flex time, which allowed me to leave work around 2:00 PM Central time and pull into the Freedom Hall parking lot about an hour before tip off for week night games. When there were Thursday/Saturday home games, I would take a PTO day on Friday, spend Thursday and Friday nights with my Mother, and head back to Nashville after the Saturday game.

    This went on for twenty years. There were some week night games I missed, but I felt it was worth it, because I knew eventually, I would move back to Louisville, which I did in the spring of 2015.

    In the fall of 2005, my daughter matriculated at U of L, so she was able to use the tickets for the games I could not attend. She remained in Louisville after graduation, so that continued until I finally moved back.

    There were a number of times I second guessed the decision to keep the tickets, especially the last couple of years of Coach Crum’s era when the number of wins fell off and gas prices soared to over $4 a gallon. And of course, the minimum donation to the CAF kept getting higher. But I persevered.

      1. It’s also one of the reasons why my newest car is a 2006 model Honda CR-V. The donation and ticket prices are about equal to a year’s worth of car payments.

  3. I became a basketball fan, Cards in particular, shortly after I enrolled at ULLaw in ’73. Became a diehard (naturally). When I moved to RI in 1982 I would have to wander my backyard at night with my portable radio trying to pull in WHAS, sometimes clear sometimes static. I still remember Denny’s pregame interview ’86 Championship talking about running Duke’s big men all night until it would make a difference. Still a diehard, now can watch all the games (thanks ESPN+ and ACCNetwork) including this past miserable year. That’s me, I stuck with the New York Football Giants for 25 years between Championships. Hope not to wait that long for the next one for either team. Go Cards!

    1. Malcolm, when I still lived in Nashville (see above) I would back my car out of the garage and try to listen to games on its AM radio.

  4. Spring of 85, having gotten accepted to law school at both UofL and UK, I had a decision to make. UK was a slightly better law school, but I was a huge UofL fan (and undergrad there). Ultimately, it looked to me like UofL was going to be LOADED in basketball that upcoming 85-86 season 😉 and that was the deciding factor in me going to UofL Law School

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